Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Episode #2: and so it continues

Before I jump back into our story I wanted to comment on today. It went fairly well until I started going to my classes and realized that while my brain was fried after Midterm-Monday, it probably wasn't terribly brilliant to take 2 days off of doing homework. That and just forgetting you have stuff due isn't ever fun either. After my classes I fell asleep on a bench on campus while I was enjoying the amazing weather and consequently my back has been growling at me since then.

American Idol was kind of disappointing tonight. I can't fathom why Sanjaya is still on there. He is not talented at all and just needs to get off the show. I'm really surprised that Haley didn't make it into the bottom 3, but oh well...it's not like either of them will make it too much further given their apparent lack of talent (in my opinion).

Ok, back to us now....
There’s not much to say about the time while Drex was gone on the mission…a lot of stuff happened that I don’t think is particularly relevant. Except I did manage to injure my back in a big way and I still suffer from it. I didn’t tell Drex about it until after I had had surgery and stuff. I did write him every week except for, like, 4…and he was pretty regular with the letters as well. There were so many times when what he wrote to me seemed like he was reading my mind and anticipating what was going on in my life. His letters got me through some pretty rough times.

When Drex got home from the mission and moved out to Utah, I’ll admit I was pretty overt in my intentions and I think I pushed him further away than I intended. I was convinced through much of his mission that he would come home and we would get married pretty quickly and that it would be happily ever after. Um, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I wanted it so badly and I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t responding to me and feeling the same way. I got really frustrated and wasn’t super nice, but then I thought that if I were a bit more subtle, maybe that would help. Drex’s cousin kept trying to give me advice on how to approach the situation and what I should and shouldn’t do. It was a lot harder to follow his advice than I thought it would be and I was far from successful a lot of the time.

As I mentioned before, I screwed up my back pretty badly while Drex was on his mission and I had planned to have a second surgery the June after he got home. I was in pretty constant, excruciating pain and was looking forward to the surgery, hoping that it would eliminate that pain. I was taking classes that spring term and had arranged to take my finals early so that I could have surgery and my mom had made plans to come down and stay with me for a few days so everything was set…or so I thought. About a week before the surgery, my mom called me and told me that they (my parents) didn’t think that I should have the surgery at that point. They aren’t the biggest fans of my back surgeon given the fact that the first surgery didn’t hold. I was with Drex and his cousin when I got that phone call and I was so angry and frustrated and had a whirlwind of emotions. We were grocery shopping at the time and I had driven, so they went into the store while I tried to collect myself in the car. I was so upset that I couldn’t calm down at that point. When they came out of the store I stormed out of the car and literally chucked my keys at Drex and yelled, “YOU DRIVE HOME!” and fully intended on walking the 2+ miles back to my apartment by myself. Drex and his cousin managed to stop me on the side of the road not more than 100 yards from the store and his cousin walked with me down the street to where Drex had parked my car. When we got there, Drex put his arms around me and just let me bawl everything out for at least 10 minutes. I have no idea what was going through his head at that point, but I’m willing to bet that he was kind of worried that I was going to turn into Psycho. He has no idea how much it meant to me that he responded to my frustration and anger by just holding me and letting me cry. After that fun little incident, I was a little wary of him and I think he was trying to be really careful around me as well.

That next fall I started teaching at an Alternative High School for my internship and it was an incredibly rough experience for the first semester. I spent a lot of time venting and crying and feeling completely inadequate. Mostly I vented to Drex because his cousins avoided me. They don’t deal well with emotional beings and I needed emotional support, so I turned to Drex. That November his cousin wrote me an email telling that he couldn’t handle me and didn’t really want to be around me until I changed. That hit me really hard and completely out of the blue. I had no idea what to do because they were my best friends and they all live together and I can’t really avoid one without avoiding them all. It was difficult, but we ended up patching things up. The second semester of teaching ended up going much more smoothly with fewer emotional break downs.

Christmas came and went and then February hit. Historically February is a terrible month for me. I get really sick every year (since my freshman year of high school), like nigh unto death sick. I managed to get sick at the beginning of the month and then over President’s Day weekend my back went into severe spasms and Drex’s cousin took me to the ER to get meds and general relief. We all had Monday off to observe President’s Day and Drex called me to invite me over for dinner. He and his cousin came to pick me up since I was heavily drugged for the spasms. Drex ended up driving me home later that night and as he tried to drop me off, he told me that he was going to try dating someone else and that they had gone on their first date the previous Friday. I was stunned. I had no response. Drex decided to pull into my parking garage and we sat there. I was hurt and dumbfounded and didn’t know what to say. I don’t remember saying a whole lot, but I do remember what he said. He looked at me and said, “I’ve tried so hard to fall in love with you, but I can’t. I’m not saying it will never happen, but I just can’t do it right now.” Then there was a pretty big lull in the conversation. After a few minutes I looked at him and said, “You know, I love you more than I’ve ever loved any one before. We connect on such a ridiculously deep level, sometimes it’s scary. I guess I just don’t really know what else to say.” Again there was a long pause in the conversation. He kept looking at me like he wanted to tell me something but kept chickening out. In a slightly pouty and defensive, yet still loving voice I said, “what?” He took a deep breath and said, “Most people only know about 5% of me. The other 90% I keep to myself.” I was puzzled by that statement, but pushed him for more of an explanation with, “Ok, well, what’s the other 90%?” More hemming and hawing ensued until I saw a tear escape his eye and then he said, “I’m more attracted to guys than girls.” He didn’t look at me after he said that but sat there with his eyes closed and tears streaming down his face. After a moment of contemplation (I was amazed that I didn’t feel shocked, or stunned, or appalled, or any of the feelings that I felt I should have been feeling. Rather I felt my love for him intensify exponentially. I can’t explain it and I don’t know as I would if I could. It was a very revelatory moment for me) I looked at him and said, “Do you think that changes how I feel about you?” After I told him that I reached across the seat and put my arms around him. He buried his face in my shoulder and we sat like that for a few minutes. Then he collected himself and helped me out of the car and up to my apartment (I was still in pretty intense pain from the spasms in my back). He hugged me at my door and I went into my apartment still stunned. My roommate knew something was up and came and sat by me. It was so hard not to tell her, but I couldn’t fathom how much trust it took for Drex to tell me something so personal, so I told her I would be fine and retreated to my room to ponder on the events of the night. I shed numerous tears praying for guidance and direction and finally settled on writing Drex an email. I told him that I loved him dearly and that I would support him no matter what. Then I told him that I wouldn’t be coming around much because of his decision to pursue a relationship with a different girl. I didn’t tell him at the time, but I was devastated. I couldn’t stand to be in the same room with him knowing that he was with someone else. At the end of the email I quoted some lyrics from Wicked: The Musical. Pretty much it was the entirety of the song “For Good.” For those of you who haven’t heard the music I say “sssshhhhuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnn.” You really should go check it out. Anyway, for better or worse, I chose to kind of drop off the face of the planet until the “other girl” disappeared.

The next day I got a call from Drex’s brother who I had become pretty good friends with over the previous 4 years. He said that he had heard what happened and wanted to know if I wanted to talk. I told him that I would be fine, but one of the problems with becoming really good friends with someone is that they can always tell when you’re lying, even over the phone. He started crying before I even said something and was upset that “[Drex] could do something like that to me. He’s such an idiot!” I was touched that I had made such and impression on his younger brother. It’s especially interesting when you consider that he and I hadn’t met face to face at that point. Our entire friendship had been cultivated online. Apparently the other cousins were also kind of appalled that Drex would even contemplate dating someone else. I just did my best to avoid the whole situation.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t realize how potentially devastating my reaction would be to Drex. I dropped off the face of the earth in an effort to protect myself from being hurt by the fact that he wasn’t dating me, but I didn’t take into account the fact that he would wonder if I dropped off because he told me about his SSA. In my defense, he hit me with both situations and I did tell him that I wasn’t going to come around because of the dating thing, nevertheless, it was still a stupid thing to do.

During my self-imposed exile I took the time to do further research on SSA. I read almost everything I could get my hands on: General Conference talks, websites, blogs (which I admit I really wasn’t impressed with at the time), The Miracle of Forgiveness, Our Search for Happiness, and myriad other things. Looking back now I realize that I had barely scratched the surface, but I was making an effort to try and better understand what my best friend was facing and how best to support him.

And as with last night, there's still more to go. I haven't gotten as far with the next installment so it might take a few days to get more.

S.

3 comments:

drex said...

Just so this is recorded in the annals of history (as opposed to the anals of history, which stink), I vacillated on telling Salad for a multitude of reasons, but the main reason that I ended up telling her was that it would give her some justification in her mind for why I'd drop her like that. It's always been my first intention to keep her as far from emotional stress and harm as possible, and at that point I figured telling her the deeper reasons for pursuing another relationship would save her some anguish. Don't know if it helped, but it certainly opened up some other doors well down the road.

salad said...

despite the fact that he told me, i knew that someday, when the time was right for us both, we would be together and it would be amazing. though he thought that keeping me out of emotional stress and harm would be the best way to go, it's often what i choose to gravitate toward. so for better or worse, he hurt me and i hurt him and now we're stronger than ever before...weird how things tend to work out eh?

agirlwho said...

That really is incredible. Your reaction was very similar to mine when John told me about his SSA. I cried, it was upsetting, but I somehow loved him more. I was willing to do whatever it took to stay together. We are just friends now because that is how our relationship turned out, but I am so glad that we did date and I am so glad that he chose to tell me about his struggle instead of hide it and leave me wondering what I did wrong. He is a wonderful person. Sometimes I wonder if I will meet someone else as great as him. Anyhow, I am very happy that you two are sticking together in this. It won't be easy, of course, but whatever course your relationship takes it will be beneficial if you are always honest with each other (and it seems like you are). Salad, we'll have to talk more sometime. Do you ever chat?